We’re going to argue, however, that the all-new Gen 6 Camaro is more significant. In our admittedly limited experience with preproduction examples and careful evaluation of the elements comprising it, it’s more of a driver’s car. We don’t mean to cast aspersions on the unquestionably popular Gen 5, but it was a car trimmed to fit an existing platform one that wasn’t originally envisioned as a 21st century ponycar.
Our technique in the 2015 GT is the same as in previous Mustangs. We find an upright driving position to get good leverage on the shifter, and keep our hand on the shifter during launch so we’re ready to go.
So how does the 2015 Shelby GT handle? Lucky for us, we got the opportunity to take the car for a spin and we got to experience just what this 650hp beast is all about. While it feels incredibly fast, you aren’t constantly worried about giving it too much throttle and spinning out. The traction control seems to keep it tracking straight when you crack open the throttle and the sway bars help it hug the curves, even under power.
In short, it was kind of like a chunky guy buying an off-the-rack sport coat because the party was tonight. The Gen 6 Camaro, on the other hand, appears to be precisely tailored and draped over the chest of somebody who’s been taking pilates classes. It’s leaner in both appearance and substance, and it’s one of the few vehicles these days that can boast it’s lighter and more powerful than the previous model. Chevrolet says the overall weight loss is more than 200 pounds. That’s a pretty significant and welcome reduction that will pay dividends in everything from agility to fuel economy.
The looks of the Shelby GT are drop dead gorgeous and the S550s finely sculpted body lines are accented nicely by all the true carbon fiber panels such as the tail light panel, rear diffuser, spoilers, rocker panels, splitter and even the functional heat extractors on the carbon fiber hood that is painted to match the car.
But Scat Pack isn’t only about power and performance. Dodge has done a great job enhancing the interior with comfortable and supportive seating, quality materials, attractive instrumentation, and lots of standard features, including 6-way power seating, 4-way power lumbar, 8.4-inch uConnect infotainment system, Bluetooth, decklid spoiler with backup camera, keyless entry, power windows, dual-zone climate control, media hub, six-speaker stereo, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, electric power steering, paddle shifters, and lots more.
The Dodge boys tried nibbling at the edges of the performance/value proposition with cars like the GLS, GLHS, Viper, and even V-8 Dakota, but the engineers in Auburn Hills never had all the right goodies in the parts bin to snatch victory from their cross-town rivals in Detroit and Dearborn. They kept trying though, and once the LX platform came on line in 2005 with the 5.7L Hemi-powered Chrysler 300C and Dodge Magnum, a nascent ember of hope grew into a large movement that has ignited Mopar faithful and conquest buyers alike.
Some detractors of the Challenger cite the two-ton mass as a negative, but for many people the practical concerns of a car take precedence, and room for people and things is key. Make no mistake, this is a car you can actually use. The beauty of the Scat Pack it that there really isn’t any downside—the performance and price of Scat Pack can hang with its lighter competitors, giving it the edge in daily use.
If you have 3.73 gears (or numerically higher gears) do the burnout in Second gear. With 3.55s or less, use First. The idea is to create wheel speed, as this gets the tires cleaned quickly, without putting too much load on the clutch. And please don’t upshift with a stick in the burnout. Why? When you step on the clutch to shift the tires stop, and since they are already sticky, it’s hard for them to get going again and this will wreak havoc on your clutch. Yes, Pro Stock drivers upshift in the burnout, but they use a clutchless trans.
To help the Shelby GT grip through the curves while laying down all its newfound power, a set of Shelby specific 20-inch Weld Racing forged aluminum wheels wrapped I sticky Michelin rubber are used. A set of 6-piston Wilwood calipers up front and 4-piston Wilwood calipers out back help reel in this pony when jumping on the binders. A brake duct kit ensures the brakes stay cool during spirited driving at the track while adjustable rear control arms and camber/caster plates allow the suspension to be finely tuned for any situation.
When the maximum weight has been transferred to the rear, feed in throttle and let the clutch out smoothly. In the 2015, we used between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm and applied our technique to record a 2.10 60-foot time. No doubt with more practice it could have been whittled down. In fact, you can watch the drag test video at our network site, mustang-360.com.
“In the best Shelby tradition, we took our already high-performance 575 horsepower Shelby Raptor and made it even more capable,” said Shelby American Vice President of Operations Akos J. Feher. “Fifty lucky owners will have the baddest, best-handling and best-looking Shelby truck we offer. Not to mention, all of the interior fit-and-finish people expect from Shelby. It’s a truck that can thrive under the most extreme conditions.”
There’s also a new center console that shows Chevrolet was listening to its more enthusiastic Gen 5 owners. It is designed specifically for easier shifting with a manual transmission, thanks to a repositioned armrest and the elimination of the mechanical, pull-up parking brake. In its place is a simple switch for an electric park brake.